Flyers thump Penguins as Mason posts shutout

031517_flyers-happy_1200
Wayne Simmonds celebrates his goal against the Penguins with his Flyers teammates.

The Flyers ended a three-game losing streak and moved closer in the playoff race by beating their old nemeses, the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0, at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.

With the win, the Flyers inched to within five points of the Eastern Conference's final wild-card spot. They have 13 games left and have to climb past three teams.

"You have to believe," right winger Jake Voracek said.

Wayne Simmonds scored his 200th career goal and Steve Mason collected his second shutout in his last seven games as the Flyers beat the Penguins for the first time in three tries this season.

Never mind that Pittsburgh was a tired team, having just returned from a four-game Western Canada trip in which the Penguins traveled nearly 5,000 miles. Never mind that, because of the snow that diverted the team's flight to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Penguins didn't arrive in Philadelphia until Wednesday morning.

The Flyers have had their own share of misfortune lately - most of it on the ice - so they didn't care about any of that.

It was just their second win against Pittsburgh in seven games during coach Dave Hakstol's two seasons.

"We're fighting for our lives here, so every game matters," Simmonds said.

With Pittsburgh trailing by 2-0 midway through the third period, Oskar Sundqvist was in alone on a shorthanded chance, but Mason (23 saves) made the stop to preserve the two-goal cushion.

Claude Giroux iced the win by scoring his 14th goal with 4 minutes, 16 seconds remaining. Dale Weise (remember him?) added a goal - his first since Nov. 23 - with 47.3 seconds to play.

Weise had two points. He had five points in his first 50 games this season.

"He was playing heavy; he was hard on the puck, and he did what he does," Giroux said.

Sean Couturier (eight shots) and Simmonds (power play) keyed the victory, scoring 5:20 apart to give the Flyers a 2-0 second-period lead.

Couturier's goal, his second in the last 17 games, was set up by Weise, who had been a healthy scratch in the previous six games. Weise deflected Brayden Schenn's pass off Penguins goalie Matt Murray, and Couturier scored on the rebound with 19 minutes left in the second.

"It always feels good to get in, be physical, and try to have a positive impact on the team coming back," said Weise, who has been a healthy scratch 15 times this season.

Weise notched his first points since Jan. 12, helping the Flyers gain ground in the playoff race. They will play Thursday in New Jersey against the worst-in-the-East Devils.

"I think anything is possible; you see we're in every game," Weise said. "I don't think it's out of reach for this team. This is a confident group."

Schenn nearly gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 27.1 seconds left in a scoreless first period.

Voracek threaded a pass to Valtteri Filppula on the left side, and the center sent a perfect feed to Schenn, who was all alone in front.

But Murray did a split and made a spectacular stop to keep the game scoreless.

It was also scoreless because the Flyers' power play continued to struggle in the first period. Hakstol made some changes. Ivan Provorov was put on the first power-play unit, and Voracek went from the first to second unit, which had Radko Gudas (eight hits) and Michael Del Zotto at the points.

The new units produced no goals and a total of one shot in four minutes of power-play time in the opening period. That made the Flyers 2 for 28 in their last six-plus games.

The new-look power play, however, paid dividends as Simmonds made it 2-0 with 13:40 to go in the second period.

Earlier in the power play, Provorov kept the puck in the zone with a deft play inside the blue line. Shortly thereafter, he found Shayne Gostisbehere alone on the right. Murray turned aside Gostisbehere's drive, but Simmonds deposited the rebound.

Pittsburgh had been 16-8-3 at the Wells Fargo Center in games Sidney Crosby had played. Crosby, the subject of derisive cheers throughout the game, was blanked Wednesday - he was minus-2 and won just 42 percent of his faceoffs - and his five-game points streak against the Flyers ended.

"We were letting the season slip away, so for us to come up with a big effort and stop the bleeding" was huge, Mason said. "Hopefully, we can build off of it."

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments
Continue Reading